Core Insights Podcast Series: Behavioural Science

12 October 2020

Warwick Business School's Core Insights team presents a 12-part series on behavioural science.

WBS has the biggest group of behavioural science researchers in Europe. Over 12 episodes host Trevor Barnes interviews academics on the latest research and thinking into how our mind works, how we make decisions, the biases and heuristics that govern our behaviour and how we can apply behavioural science insights to help improve business, Government, health and society.

Listen to it below or through your usual podcast provider:

Episode One

Nick Chater on why searching for your true 'self' is pointless

We assume that below a mental 'surface' of conscious awareness lies a deep and complex set of inner beliefs, values and desires that govern our thoughts, ideas and actions, and that to know this depth is to know ourselves.

But Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, reveals to Core Insights host Trevor Barnes how this is in fact all an illusion.

The pair discuss the latest research in psychology and neuroscience detailed in Professor Chater's book The Mind is Flat, where Professor Chater argues that rather than being the plaything of unconscious currents, the brain generates behaviours in the moment based entirely on our past experiences and environment.

The brain, Professor Chater contends, is a ceaseless and creative improviser. Read an extract from the book at here.





Episode Two

How to become more patient and choose the long-term benefit

Core Insights host Trevor Barnes talks to Daniel Read, Professor of Behavioural Science, about his research into intertemporal choices, which looks at why, even though we are on a diet, we choose to eat a cream bun now, rather than wait for our lunchtime salad. Or why in repeated experiments people would prefer £10 now rather than £15 in two weeks.

These are intertemporal trade-offs and despite economics teaching us we should weigh up the options, calculating the benefits between the two points in time and choosing the most beneficial, we don’t always do this in a way that is best for us, or for society. You can see it playing out at every climate change conference, where hard choices to curb emissions are put off for another day.

Professor Read also reveals research on a way to make us more patient and take the better, but further away, option - by simply adding a zero. Read more on this here.





Episode Three

Anchoring - the nudge plunging us all into debt

Trevor Barnes, host of Core Insights, interviews Neil Stewart, Professor of Behavioural Science, about a nudge - or sludge - that he discovered on his credit card statement.

Anchoring is a well-established nudge with plenty of research confirming its existence. Here, Professor Stewart explains how it is affecting our credit card bill thanks to the minimum payment. For more on this, read Professor Stewart's article here.





Episode Four

Does giving workers a pay rise lead to greater productivity?

Andrea Isoni, Professor of Behavioural Science, joins Core Insights host Trevor Barnes to discuss the conundrum of pay rises.

Professor Isoni has used game theory to examine how pay rises are actually reciprocated by employees. For many bosses giving workers a pay rise is seen as an act of kindness that they expect to be reciprocated by more effort.

But Professor Isoni details the scenarios that show this is rarely the case. Read more on it all here.





Episode Five

How business strategists can take advantage of our bias of ignoring luck

Chengwei Liu, Associate Professor of Strategy and Behavioral Science, talks about his research into luck with Core Insights host Trevor Barnes.

Dr Liu reveals the situations and reasons why we have a bias towards luck, underestimating our good luck and overestimating bad luck. This bias can be exploited by firms alive to the opportunities that luck brings. Read more about it here.




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